Although spending time outside is something people have always done, the concept of choosing outdoor living as a major part of our lifestyles is fairly new. There was a time, not so very long ago, that life truly was “nasty, brutish and short”, as Thomas Hobbes so bluntly put it.
In this country, Native Americans, pioneers and even the legendary mountain men strove to find ways to create outdoor living spaces for themselves that would provide food, shelter and possibly just a modicum of comfort.
The Beginning of Lawns & Lawn Care
We can thank the Department of Agriculture and the US Golf Association for their joint effort to cultivate grass that would provide us with sustainable, attractive lawns. Back in the day, many folks would simply keep goats or sheep to manage the height of their grass. Lucky for us, the rotary lawn mower had already been invented and was being manufactured in America by the late 1800s. And the garden hose was simply an offshoot of the fire hose, which had been around since the mid 1600s. That makes it a lot easier than having to haul buckets of water up from the well to splash on the grass, don’t ya think?
The Front Porch
With the rise in popularity of the front porch in the mid 1800s, Americans were afforded the opportunity to relax just outside of their own homes in comfort, a sweater or hat only steps away, to savor the fresh air and the sights and sounds of nature. The front porch was a place to sit and chat, enjoy a cool drink on a hot day, catch up on the comings and goings of neighbors and friends, and just watch the world go by. We didn’t know it yet, but the concept of the outdoor room had begun to entice us.
It should come as no surprise then, that technology has played a large part in getting us back outside. Although many of us have often enjoyed sitting in our yards on a beautiful summer day at a picnic table or on a few lawn chairs while the burgers and dogs cooked up on the grill, we’ve still had the tendency to want to get back inside to catch the game, get in some computer time, maybe catch up on a few Zzzzs – you know what I’m talking about. However with the advent of the laptop, handheld mobile devices and even outdoor flatscreen TVs, we have slowly but surely begun to move back outside.
We’re staying outside longer too, because spending lots of time in our yards has become so much more appealing. We not only have decks and patios, we’re also creating top of the line outdoor kitchens, outdoor living rooms, outdoor playrooms and outdoor offices. Then we’re adding even more enticing yard features like fire features, water features, inviting pathways leading to secret gardens, gazebos, pergolas – the concepts are endless and wonderful. We’ve even got outdoor heaters to extend our outside living time for as long as possible.